We parked the Aston at St. Katherine’s Monastery car park at 3.15 and set off uphill at a brisk pace with friends Nikki Marsh and Stuart Onyett. By the lights of torches we walked the 7 km. of trail and then 700 large rock steps up to the summit. Charlotte and I found a great perch on a rock right at the very top – and settled down to watch the sun rise wrapped up in our fleeces and rally caps. There was quite an atmosphere and it was worth the early start. No time to lose, though and we came down by the shorter but harder direct route with 3700 steps getting back to the hotel by 7.45 a.m. We picked up an extra passenger on the way back – Jenny Brayshaw who was legging it back to the hotel – so we were five in the Aston – not quite like getting 12 girls into a mini, but not far off!
A quick pack and breakfast before returning to Saint Katherine’s Monastery for when it opened at 9.00 a.m.
The drive to Nuweiba was fabulous. At last some great driving in Egypt. No convoys, great road surface and lots of sweeping mountain bends that were a real joy to drive an Aston Martin down.
Sadly the experience at the port did no credit to Egypt. The extraordinarily complicated and inefficient customs procedures to get our car documents sorted and stamped, with a whole dossier of papers collected along the way, took the best part of five hours. Absolutely ridiculous. We had arrived at 11.30 for the 14.00 ferry to Aqaba, Jordan and were assured that it would wait for us. In the end the ferry was still messing about refuelling and filling in paperwork and did not leave until after 5 p.m.
What a wonderful contrast in Jordan. Everyone at the port was so polite, efficient and the process was simple. We were through quickly and arrived at our hotel at 10 p.m. despite an hour time change. Still a lot later than planned, but we relaxed with a nice glass of wine in the bar of the Intercontinental.